Monster or Savior? Let Kosovo decide.

On November 1, 2009, former President of the United States Bill Clinton was awarded a statue in his honor in Kosovo.  Thousands of cheering Albanians showed up for the event. The eleven foot statue of Clinton travelled down Clinton Boulevard before the red curtain was pulled off.

“I never expected that anywhere, someone would make such a big statue of me,” said Clinton moments after the unveiling.

Many see the reasons for this honorable event to be quite controversial. In 1999, Serbian forces had commenced the cleansing of ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia. Clinton gave the order for NATO to begin the bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. From March 22 to June 11, 1999 NATO repeatedly bombed villages and towns in various parts of Yugoslavia in an attempt to rid the area of Serbian forces determined to slaughter independence seeking Albanians.

Within the first week of bombing, the Serbian forces had stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Albanians and an estimated 300,000 Albanians had fled their homes in Kosovo to seek refuge in Albania. By April 850,000 people had fled for their lives.

NATO increased the attacks to individual targets such as tanks and artillery placements.  On May 7, NATO accidentally bombed a Chinese Embassy, killing three journalists. The US and NATO later apologized for the mistake, blaming it on an outdated map.

There was talk of a ground invasion in the start of April which would bring the conflict to a quick organized resolution. Clinton opposed a ground invasion and suggested de-stabilizing the Serbian government under Slobodan Milošević. However it was agreed that a military invasion was the only option, and the UN headed the operation along with NATO.

British and Norwegian Special Forces were the first ones to cross the border into Kosovo, two days before the other militaries. Their mission was to clean up and to implement peace between the Albanians and Serbians. This was completed under very complicated circumstances.

At the end of the war an estimated 500,000 Kosovo Albanians were missing and most likely dead. In 2000 Milošević was arrested and charged with various war crimes. 1,900 US troops are still stationed in Kosovo as a peacekeeping force along with NATO and many other countries.  Over the past few years thousands of troops from various countries have been taken out of Kosovo.

There is still a civil war in Kosovo, hate still rages on between Serbs and Albanians. Children go to separate schools in separate neighborhoods and are raised to hate one another. Violence is still a major factor for the people in Kosovo.